In part II of our blog series hosted by Colin Abercrombie, we explore the process of deploying a CRM platform within a professional services firm. If you haven't read the first blog, you can catch up on what a CRM means to the Accountancy profession here.
You have defined your Go To Market (GTM) plan and you have formalised your strategy for growth, but how should a professional services firm incorporate the implementation of this into the day-to-day activities of team members?
In a post-pandemic world it's essential to adapt business development in ways that continue to accelerate the customer experience - less physical contact and fewer direct referrals highlight the need for a digital first outreach to prospects.
Business development activity can be challenging to consistently direct, monitor and measure in a professional services firm. Much of the responsibility for initiating market activity falls to senior level technical professionals who have a chargeable day job.
How do you ensure that such activity is cost effective and in accordance with the firms’ strategy, and how do you maintain visibility and accountability to those charged with strategy delivery?
A simple solution is to deploy a CRM tool. Undertaken correctly, this simple step could ensure the success of your entire strategy
Deploying a CRM platform
Much of the emphasis on CRM deployment within professional firms has either centred on service line management, and the creation of the “single client view” or has sought to synchronise the entirety of the practice client data set as the “sales ecosystem”. Both these routes will lead to many difficult months with little or no tangible results. There is a much simpler solution:
- Deploy a fully functioning, out of the box, sales and marketing solution;
- Focus, initially, on the potential for cross-selling, prospecting and referral source introductions for your data set. Developing a healthy prospect ecosystem ensures all valuable opportunities are being nurtured by both sales and marketing without anyone falling through the cracks;
- Only integrate client data in relation to the “high-end” clients, where cross-selling is likely in the short term (platinum or gold level clients);
- Upload data sets that represent your key account targets or sectors only, where you have a GTM strategy;
- Only input active referral sources, who are proven “friends of the firm” over the last 3 years;
- Enroll only your “BD active” senior team as users of the CRM platform and provide training;
- Specify a limited number of KPI’s for each team member, covering cross-selling, conquest and referral source activity expectations;
- Use automated marketing, website tracking and gateways to generate Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) activity for follow up by the team;
- Ensure that all inbound interactions are channelled into your CRM system, where follow up activity can be tracked;
- Ensure that all direct activity with prospects and sources is reflected in the CRM;
- Ensure that all potential opportunities are allocated to a specific member of the team to develop;
- Monitor, encourage and train your team in maximising the return from inbound marketing activity;
- Regularly evaluate progress and ensure successful practices are shared across the team.
Warning: do not get bogged down in data management – the desire to bring all of the firms’ legacy data into your sales and marketing efforts will inevitably delay matters. Recognise that much of the client base does not represent cross-selling opportunities and segment your data accordingly.
The right CRM platform, knowledgeably and quickly applied and managed in a disciplined manner, should surface.
Deployed correctly, this will encourage swift pipeline growth by providing management with the tools to monitor and control activity, thereby ensuring revenue growth (on the assumption that the GTM strategy is the correct one for the firm). If you can’t see it and measure it then it didn’t happen!
About the author
Colin Abercrombie is ProsperoHub’s Director & Co-Founder. A Chartered Accountant for over 30 years, having had his own practice, Colin was also a Partner in a mid-tier accountancy firm for 5 years. Colin has extensive experience in the process of deploying a CRM platform within a professional services firm.